No other weight class carries more intrigue and mystique than the heavyweight division. This is true for any combat sport, and the UFC is no different. This is where titans collide, where every man has the size and power to render an opponent conscious with a single punch. Fittingly, the champion not only holds the belt, but the title of “The Baddest Man on the Planet.”
Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic just recorded his second straight title defense - and fourth consecutive first-round KO - at UFC 211. The part-time Cleveland firefighter is quietly on the verge of becoming the next heavyweight great, though it’s hard to tell based on how little fanfare he’s received. Still, he’s earned his spot at the top of our rankings and deserves every ounce of respect.
Today's UFC Heavyweight Odds from BookMaker
UFC Heavyweight Division a GlanceWeight Range: 205-265 pounds Average Height: 75” (6’3”) Average Reach: 77.5” (6’5.5”)
Current UFC Rankings (As of June 1, 2017)
Champion: Stipe Miocic
1. Fabricio Werdum
2. Cain Velasquez
3. Alistair Overeem
4. Junior Dos Santos
5. Francis Ngannou
6. Derrick Lewis
7. Mark Hunt
8. Andrei Arlovski
9. Travis Browne
10. Alexander Volkov
11. Stefan Struve
12. Timothy Johnson
13. Marcin Tybura
14. Aleksi Oleinik
15. lDaniel Omielanczuk
Odds and Ends
We’ve got two high-stakes divisional matchups in the near future. The first is at UFC 110, when No. 6 Derrick Lewis meets No. 7 Mark Hunt. The New Zealander is far outside of the title picture, but a win for Lewis would put him on a short list of title contenders - believe it or not.
The other matchup is a heavyweight clash between former champion Fabricio Werdum and No. 3 Alistair Overeem. Currently, the UFC odds show Werdum as a slight +120 underdog, but if he can get past Overeem, he’d likely earn a chance to win back the title from the man who took it from him.
Immediate OutlookOne look at the top 10 and it’s clear that this is an aging division. Every fighter in the top 10 is on the wrong side of 30. Guys like Alistair Overeem, Josh Barnett and Mark Hunt all became famous in the Pride FC era, which ended in 2007. With the exception of Derrick Lewis and Stipe Miocic, it’s easy to argue that every fighter listed above is past their prime. This is a division in serious need of fresh young blood.
Fighters to WatchCain Velasquez makes for the most intriguing matchup against Miocic, but the latest out of AKA is that the former champ is still recovering from injury and a while away from a return. Everybody’s eager to see more of Francis Ngannou, as the explosive big man is the division’s most exciting prospect and not far from a title shot of his own
Francis Ngannou, currently ranked No. 12, is the most promising prospect at heavyweight today. At age 30, he is young for the weight class and has just 10 pro MMA fights. He has extraordinary blend of speed, explosiveness and size, and he’s rapidly improving as a fighter.
The GreatsOnly recently could the UFC make the claim that it had the best heavyweights in the world. For a long time, Pride FC was the standard-bearer - legends like Fedor Emelianenko, Antonio Nogueira, Mirko “Cro Cop” and Josh Barnett spent the primes of Hall of Fame careers fighting in Japan. Strikeforce’s famed Heavyweight Grand Prix in 2011 also had an embarrassment of riches, with Fedor, Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overem, Barnett and Daniel Cormier all competing.
The problem with trying to select the best UFC heavyweights in history is that most of them all had better days in other organizations. The greats most closely associated with the octagon would be Randy Couture, one of three men to win titles in two weight classes, former heavyweight champion Frank Mir, Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum.
The Future of HeavyweightsOne thing is for certain for a division defined by volatility: the heavyweight division will look drastically different in five years. Most of the fighters are closer to the end of their careers than the beginning, and it’s tough to be a 40-year old heavyweight in a combat sport. A new generation of big men should materialize soon, and we’ll be covering it in detail.
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